The Lace Guild

The Lace Guild Assessment Scheme

Piece from an Intermediate Torchon Assessment
(Margaret Smith)

WHAT sort of lace do you make? How long have you been making lace? Have you thought about taking one of the Lace Guild Assessments? This would be an opportunity to have your work judged against set criteria by experienced lacemaking assessors.

The Lace Guild offers Assessments in the following laces at three levels, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced, and in the following laces: Bedfordshire, Bucks point, Honiton, Milanese, Torchon, Needlelace, Tatting (revised 2009), Decorated Net and Downton (Elementary and Intermediate only). You should certainly find something to suit you there.

There are Young Lacemaker Assessments with three levels — Bronze, Silver and Gold with the choice of Torchon, Braid/Milanese, Bucks Point, Bedfordshire or Honiton.

There is an award for exceptional work in an Adult Assessment — the Margaret Hamer Memorial Bobbin — and the Mavis Clare Kennedy Trophy for outstanding work by a Young Lacemaker.

Syllabus and Record Books are available for purchase at any time and cost £5.00 each (plus postage). A pdf extract from the Torchon Syllabus and Record book showing the requirements at Elementary Level is available for download.

The next Assessments will take place in 2018 when we look forward to seeing your work. We hope to release the timetable by Winter 2017

Questions and Answers

Q1. How long would it take me to do an assessment?
You can purchase your Syllabus and Record book now, and then enter when you are ready. The assessments are held every two to three years at present, the next will be in 2016.
Q2. Can I enter for more than one level at a time?
Yes you can, as long as your work shows progression, development and improvement. However it may be advisable to try one level first to see how it goes.
Q3. Do I have to do a separate sample of lace for each technique?
No! One piece of lace can show numerous techniques, as long as they are clearly listed and well presented in your portfolio.
Q4. Does the lace have to be a particular size?
No! For an edging you should show three or four repeats, and within reason for anything else! Remember your lace has to be posted to us, and photographed, so no table cloths please!
Q5. I don’t have a teacher — does that put me at a disadvantage?
We are hoping to launch a new initiative soon, a mentor for those entrants who would just like a contact point in case of difficulties. We are also hoping to produce a bibliography so that techniques can be standardised.
Q6. My teacher has taught me a different technique from the one in the Syllabus and Record book — what should I do?
Treat the Syllabus and Record book as the correct method for all techniques, after all this is what your work is being judged against.
Q7. Are there any rules on how to present my work?
Both sides of your lace must be accessible, so do not stitch it down all the way around, or mount it in a frame. Do not use any glue or “Fray Check”. Neat work is always a pleasure to assess, for both your lace and your written work. Just a few mistakes in your lace are admissible at Elementary Level, as long as you own up to them, but your proficiency is being examined, so don’t let too many mistakes spoil your chances — better to re-make the piece of lace!
Q8. Am I expected to do any designing?
There may be an element of designing expected for the higher levels, and for the first level assessments you may be asked to re-draft a pattern, just to show that you can transfer design details onto your pricking and “true it up”.
Q9. Are there any ‘set’ pieces that I have to make?
No, as long as your lace shows the techniques required. Please be careful with thread/grid choices, don’t make them all the same, and whilst white and ecru lace is beautiful to look at, and shows off your work well, you can use colour, but please do so carefully!
Q10. Who are the assessors and the moderator?
Just as you as a candidate are anonymous to them, they must be so to you! Be assured that each assessor chosen by the Education Committee is an expert lacemaker and teacher. The moderator is always an experienced assessor. If there are any queries regarding techniques, these will be referred to a further expert in that particular field.
Q11. What do I get if I pass?
Apart from a warm, fuzzy feeling of achievement, you will receive a certificate for each section. The following Lace magazine will feature an article, showing some of the lace and naming those who have passed, and any prizes given, along with a report from the assessors.
Q12. I feel I could tackle it now — what do I do next?
Buy a Syllabus and Record book in your chosen subject and go for it!

Good Luck and Happy Lacemaking!